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Five killed in clashes in DR Congo mining city: army

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A militia group raided the mining city of Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday, killing four soldiers and police in clashes that also left one militia fighter dead, the army and witnesses said.

Witnesses said fighters from the Mai Mai militia had entered the city, the capital of mineral-rich Katanga province, from the north and opened fire on the army and police around the provincial governor's offices.

"The army stopped the rebels from reaching the governor's offices. There was an exchange of gunfire. The provisional toll is five dead and three wounded," an army official said on condition of anonymity.

Governor Moise Katumbi told AFP the army had managed to surround the group and force it to surrender to United Nations peacekeepers stationed in the key mining hub of Lubumbashi.

Around 100 Mai Mai fighters were in UN peacekeepers' custody on Saturday afternoon after surrendering their weapons.

The UN peacekeeping mission in DR Congo, MONUSCO, is one of the largest in the world.

A journalist who witnessed Saturday's clashes said the rebels claimed to be fighting for the independence of the Katanga region.

Since DR Congo's independence from Belgium in 1960, the province has regularly been shaken by separatist rebellions.

The UN said last month that more than 300,000 people in the region had fled their homes because of attacks by militia groups.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130323/five-killed-clashes-dr-congo-mining-city-army